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O'Gara omitted 'purely' on form

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Ronan O'Gara, at Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.

Ronan O'Gara, at Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.

SPORTSFILE

Ronan O'Gara, at Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.

IRELAND team manager Mick Kearney says Ronan O'Gara's omission from the Ireland squad was on "purely form" based.

Perhaps, it was a touch incongruous to suggest the 128-cap out-half might not have reached the endgame of a tumultuous career that has delivered 1,083 points into the Ireland kitty.

The phasing out of O'Gara has been signposted over the last three seasons. There were nine internationals in 2010-2011. He started three. There were 16 internationals played in 2011-2012. He started five. He started none in the Six Nations. O'Gara's four caps this season have all come off the wood.

"I certainly think the policy all along is to put the best team on the park at all times, especially in the Six Nations which is so competitive. His experience could be very beneficial before the tournament is finished," said Kearney.

The truth is that it would be disrespectful to Jonny Sexton, Paddy Jackson and Ian Madigan to reintroduce O'Gara next week against Italy unless two of them were unavailable.

"The players have just moved on with it. Not in a cold-hearted way, just in a professional way. They have to do it," said attack coach Les Kiss.

The vast vault of intellectual rugby knowledge O'Gara has stored away for the last 14 seasons has already been tapped into from his advice for Sexton, Jackson and Luke Marshall.

"You don't fill it easily because you are talking about Ronan O'Gara," added Kiss. "He has been nothing but professional, that's for sure.

"It is time for people to step up and make it happen. I am one for believing these young guys have it in them. They just have to feel that extra pressure that comes with that next level and trust they'll get the job done."


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